Members of AAUW Hawaii’s Public Policy Committee hopes this year will be year that the state’s gender pay gap is addressed by legislators.
While Hawaii does fairly well when compared to the pay gap in other states – AAUW places it as 10th out of all nationwide, with an earnings ratio of women earning about 83 percent for every dollar a male makes as of 2016 – there is still progress to be made. AAUW Hawaii Public Policy Committee members Jean Evans, Judy McCluskey, Beverly Munson, Youngee Overly and Susan Wurtzburg worked with Hawaii State Rep. and Majority Leader Della Au Belatti on legislation to address the issue.
On the opening day of the legislature, HB2137 (relating to equal pay) was introduced in the state house and SB2351 (relating to equal pay) was introduced to the state senate by the Women’s Legislative Caucus. The bills were part of the caucus’ legislative package that was announced at its breakfast at the YWCA.
There are two important points of the bills that will help address the gender wage gap:
- They will prevent employers from asking about a potential employee’s previous salaries during the employment process, which stops women’s low salaries from following them to different jobs.
- They will stop employers from sanctioning employees who speak about their salaries. Women will have the opportunity to discover that they are being paid less than their colleagues for similar work.
AAUW Honolulu will keep you updated as to the progress of these issues in the legislature.